Originally: Haiti’s Betrayal
Click here to read Part 1.
Haiti’s Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy
by Robert Fatton Jr.
In the hours following Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s inauguration on February 7, 2001, thousands of his supporters celebrated late into the night in the blocked-off streets around the Champ de Mars, dancing to the rhythm of the rara bands and passing around tots of rum. Three months earlier, the Haitian people had voted overwhelmingly to elect Aristide to a new five-year term. The outcome had never been in doubt. Although there was widespread disillusionment with the corrupt and authoritarian character of both the Haitian government and Fanmi Lavalas (FL), Aristide’s political party, after fifteen years in the public eye Aristide remained far and away Haiti’s most popular political figure. Since the contest had been boycotted by the opposition, Aristide ran virtually unopposed.
Despite the popular jubilation, Aristide resumed Haiti’s presidency with the legitimacy of his government very much in dispute. Only 15 percent of the electorate had bothered to vote. Moreover, the parliamentary elections in May 2000, in which the government-controlled Provisional Electoral Commission (CEP) supervising the election manipulated the results to favor FL candidates, had caused the European Union, together with the US, Canada, Japan, and the rest of Haiti’s traditional supporters to suspend all further World Bank and IMF grants, loans, and other forms of direct aid. It is doubtful whether they would have acted as decisively and with such unanimity had they not regarded the fraudulent parliamentary elections as the culmination of a series of similar attempts by Aristide and the FL to accelerate Haiti’s transformation into a de facto one-party state.
For the Haitian people, the suspension of international aid was a disaster of the first order. Few nations anywhere are as dependent on foreign financial support. Of the government of Haiti’s $800 million annual operating budget, in recent years 50 percent has consisted of aid from the US, France, and Canada. Eighty percent of the development budget has been made up of foreign contributions, and no major initiative—whether constructing a road or bridge, establishing a new police force, launching a program of agrar-ian reform, prosecuting human rights abuses, or holding an election—is possible without foreign funding. Even these subsidies barely suggest the extent of Haiti’s reliance on the outside world. For the vast majority of the Haitian population, what food and medical aid there are must be provided by the UN, USAID, missionaries, and associated NGOs.
It is hard to know the degree to which Aristide recognized Haiti’s dependence on the outside world when he took office. In early 1990, six months before the former priest surprised everyone by announcing his candidacy for president, Aristide spoke to a handful of sympathetic journalists in New York, of which I was one. As far as he was concerned, the great fact of Haitian history was its continuing oppression and exploitation by the US; without US support the Duvalier regime and its military successors would not have lasted a week. One need not be an expert to know that the history of Haiti has been a great deal more tragic and complex than he was able or willing to recognize.
Although Aristide has had some rather crude redistributionist notions, which have been widely publicized, he was never a Marxist as his enemies charged; he possesses neither a sense of history nor a particularly analytical mind. His outlook was molded by the seminary and the prophetic certitudes of liberation theology. The anti-Americanism Aristide showed was not surprising, but his extreme parochialism was. He seemed unfamiliar with recent political history and the experience of other Caribbean nations similarly, although far less precariously, situated on the periphery of the global economy. He appeared not to know the constraints Haiti’s political and economic dependency has imposed on the country or how crucial foreign economic support was to accomplishing anything. When one of his interlocutors at the 1990 meeting in New York asked him what concrete steps American friends of Haiti could take to aid the democracy movement, he showed some ill temper. If the US would stop interfering in Haiti, he said, Haiti could take care of itself.
The situation confronting Aristide in 2001 was much the same as it was in 1990: Haiti has never had much choice, if it is to arrest the present downward spiral, other than engagement with the international community. The task of any Haitian government, now as before, is to negotiate the best deal possible with foreign lenders and to start to address the country’s fundamental problems. Aristide came to power as the leader of a movement for national redemption. Michael Mandelbaum, a Johns Hopkins professor, noted at the time of Aristide’s return in 1994 that the fate of successful revolutionaries at the end of the twentieth century was to “administer the harsh economic prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund and leave office at the decree of the constitution or the voters, perhaps with a Nobel Peace Prize as a consolation.” This has proved far from the truth.
If Aristide was ever concerned about antagonizing the “cold country to the north,” he showed little sign. From 1995 to 2000 Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas were engaged in fighting a war on two fronts—one against the Organisation du Peuple en Lutte (OPL), his social democratic opponents, and the other against the international lenders who were conditioning aid on the “structural adjustment” of Haiti’s economy—but his attention was almost wholly consumed by the internal political struggle. Neither Aristide nor the opposition ever seemed to recognize the damaging consequences for Haiti of the government’s continuing failure to reach an accord with Haiti’s international lenders. Today, the unprecedented support for Haiti that existed in 1994 is gone, one of many devastating consequences of the loss of confidence in the Haitian government. Nothing is likely to bring it back.
For a number of years, officials of the World Bank and other international lenders have routinely referred to “Haiti Fatigue,” and to many of them Haiti today seems increasingly indistinguishable from any other third-world sinkhole. In 1994, projected aid for Haiti totaled over $3 billion. When aid is eventually restored, it will be at vastly reduced levels. Even longtime Haiti supporters like Senator Patrick Leahy have contrasted the $38 per capita spent annually by the US during the last eight years on Haiti with the $1 per capita that has gone to the African continent during the same period, and wondered how much longer this discrepancy can be justified.
Beginning in September 2000, OAS negotiators, under the leadership of former Columbian President César Gaviria, attempted to broker an agreement between Aristide and the Convergence Démocratique (CD), the anti-Aristide coalition that had been patched together out of fifteen opposition factions—socialists and social democrats, Christian democrats, right- wing Protestant evangelicals, and neo- Duvalieristes of half a dozen shades and stripes as well as the OPL. Such an agreement would allow the resumption of aid. But it would be hard to overestimate the level of rancor and the profound distrust separating the two sides. By December 2001, Gaviria’s deputy, Luigi Einaudi, had made over twenty trips to Port-au-Prince, each time returning empty-handed.
His task was rendered immeasurably more difficult by subsequent events. On December 17, 2001, two pickup trucks, carrying approximately twenty-five men dressed in olive camouflage uniforms, bounced along the early morning streets of Port-au-Prince, and after pulling up in front of the west gate of the National Palace, attacked the empty building, which houses the offices of the president. Within minutes the palace was ringed by troops, including the Haitian National Police’s crack anti-terrorist unit, CIMO. After several hours of heavy firing back and forth that took some large chunks out of the palace masonry but produced few casualties, the commandoes departed by the same gate they had entered, and twenty minutes later were making their way at fifteen miles an hour over the primitive roads leading to the Dominican border.
Thus ended what has been called the Police Chiefs’ Coup, so named because its planners were alleged to be a group of disgruntled officers of the Haitian National Police, whose discontent had been a matter of public speculation for over a year. Since no one so far has stepped forward to claim credit, however, it is hard to know what the reasons for this attack were. (A dispute between factions of the National Police, aided by their Dominican allies, over control of the drug trade is the most plausible explanation offered to date.) Whatever the police chiefs’ purpose may have been, it was soon clear that taking over the government was not part of it. Two dozen men would barely suffice to take over Port-au-Prince’s bustling Iron Market, where peasant produce from the countryside and tourist wares are sold, let alone stage a coup. Moreover, as everyone in Haiti knows, while the President’s offices are in the National Palace, his residence is at his private house in Tabarre, which the commandos passed without stopping both on their way into Port-au-Prince and on their way out. The OAS Investigating Committee’s report on the incident, released in July 2002, not only rejected the coup hypothesis but concluded that the assault could not have taken place without the active complicity of several different divisions of the Haitian National Police.
While the first reports of the attack on the palace were being broadcast on the radio, crowds of angry Aristide supporters, armed with machetes and sticks, poured into the streets, collecting outside the palace gates and on the Champ de Mars. At scores of points around the city, barricades were assembled from the hulks of abandoned cars, and piles of burning tires sent plumes of acrid smoke billowing upward until by 6:30 AM, the sky over Port-au-Prince was black. An hour earlier, hooded men had distributed several truckloads of weapons—Galils, G3s, M16s, Uzis—to the waiting throng behind the palace. Many of the recipients, according to one shocked witness, were little more than children, and most, clad in torn clothes and sandals, had the dirty and unkempt look of the poorest of the poor.
For the next four hours, the assault on the palace provided the pretext for a well-coordinated attack on the headquarters and homes of opposition politicians by Chimères, as the thugs in the service of the government have become known, who were transported from one part of town to another in government trucks and directed by government and FL officials. In the Bois Verna quarter, the offices of the Convergence Démocratique were set on fire, as well as those of three of its constituent parties. In Pétionville, two and a half miles from downtown Port-au-Prince, the homes of Gérard Pierre-Charles, the head of the OPL, and Professor Victor Benoît, the head of KONAKOM, a social democratic party, were ransacked and burned. “As far as I’m concerned, Aristide has put an end to negotiations,” the OPL leader Paul Denis is quoted as having said. “We’re taking steps to stay alive.”
A well-known research institute and library in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Canape-Vert was also torched. Its archives and collections, which in his younger days Father Aristide had occasionally consulted, included documents and records from the anti-Duvalier and syndicalist movements, clandestine periodicals, memoirs, and taped recollections. Destroyed in the fire, they were an irreplaceable part not only of Haiti’s intellectual and historical patrimony, but of its conscience as well.
In Gonaïves, Haiti’s third-largest city, a mob led by Amiot Metayer, also called Cubain, the leader of the local Chimères, set fire to the home of Reverend Luc Mesadieu, the head of a Protestant evangelical party, and in the process killed Pastor Mesadieu’s assistant after dousing him with diesel fuel and setting him on fire. Meanwhile, throughout Haiti, similar actions were being carried out, not only in major cities like Cap-Haïtien, Jérémie, and Port-de-Paix, but in dozens of small towns and villages. “The People,” FL Prime Minister Yvon Neptune commented at the time, “has identified its enemies.”
This episode brought negotiations between the FL and the opposition over the arrangements for new parliamentary elections to a halt, as was perhaps intended. The opposition leaders, who regarded Aristide as personally responsible for the mob’s attacks on their homes and families, insisted on the arrest and prosecution of the participants and the disarming of the Chimères as preconditions to any further talks. To the surprise of most observers, a few concrete steps in this direction were taken. While waiting on the tarmac at Port-au-Prince airport with other dignitaries to welcome Aristide on his return from a regional summit, Ronald Cadavre, the La Saline gangster and Chimère chieftain, found himself surrounded by police and taken into custody. In July, Amiot Metayer, informed that President Aristide wished to meet with him at the National Palace, climbed into a waiting car where he found himself under arrest. No further actions, however, were forthcoming.
Although Aristide continued to meet with visiting diplomats, he plainly hoped that the OAS could be persuaded to urge the release of the frozen aid money even without an agreement with the opposition, and since May 2000 the Haitian government has paid over $3 million to a handful of Washington law and public relations firms, in a notably unsuccessful attempt to lobby Congress to support such a measure. On September 4, 2002, his strategy appeared to have been vindi-cated. After weeks of rumors, the OAS met and passed Resolution 822, urging that aid be resumed in light of the “continuing deterioration of the socio-economic situation in Haiti…and its potential for humanitarian disaster.”
This action was hailed in The New York Times and elsewhere as a major victory for Aristide, and the FL was understandably jubilant. The mood lasted about forty-eight hours. Though couched in innocuous language, Resolution 822 imposed a whole new set of stringent conditions on the Haitian government aimed at creating “a more secure environment for free and fair elections”—and a strict timetable for meeting them—before any aid could be disbursed.
The OAS demands included the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the December 17, 2001, attacks on the headquarters of opposition political parties and the homes of opposition leaders, and the payment of compensation to the victims; the disarming of the Chimères and numerous FL mayors in the countryside who had assembled private militias; the arrest of the murderers of Jean Dominique, Haiti’s best-known journalist, and Brignol Lindor, a young reporter hacked to death by a machete-wielding mob of FL supporters in Gonaïves; and the purging of known narcotics traffickers among police leaders. The OAS resolution confirmed what Aristide’s critics throughout the Lavalas years had been asserting: that there would be no possibility of materially altering Haiti’s intractable poverty or ensuring human rights without stronger institutions and the rule of law.
The OAS was undoubtedly influenced by what happened on August 2, 2002. One month after Amiot Metayer’s imprisonment, and shortly before the OAS was scheduled to meet, Metayer’s supporters drove a stolen bulldozer through the wall of the Gonaïves prison where he was being held, shot their way in, and liberated their chief, along with 158 other prisoners. (Among those escaping were Jean Tatoune and others serving life sentences for the 1994 massacre of fifteen Aristide supporters in the seaside slum of Raboteau.) Within the hour, the terrified police had discarded their uniforms and were looking for a way out of town, and Gonaïves, a city of some 35,000 people, was in the hands of the mob. Metayer’s followers, calling themselves the Cannibal Army, together with recently liberated former Macoutes, celebrated the day’s events, parading up and down Gonaïves’s main street while Metayer, wearing a red bandanna in honor of Ogun Feraille, the Vodou spirit of war, called for a nationwide uprising to oust Aristide. Before nightfall, Gonaïves’s city hall, courthouse, and customs building had all been put to the torch. Metayer’s jailbreak was an ominous reminder of the extent of the lawlessness in Haiti, and the government’s failure to deal with it.
Aristide’s response to Resolution 822 was a disappointment rather than a surprise. Instead of moving to disarm the Chimères, as Resolution 822 demanded, the government launched a very visible “disarmament campaign,” setting up roadblocks in Port-au-Prince’s commercial district and middle-class residential areas, and conducting elaborate car-by-car searches. They seldom ventured, however, into the slums of La Saline, Cité Soleil, or other strongholds of Aristide support where the Chimères are based. The government did pay reparations to some of those whose property had been damaged during the attacks on the opposition on December 17, but it has not arrested and prosecuted the government and FL officials responsible. Operation Hurricane, a series of police raids on the Cap-Haïtien homes and businesses of those suspected of being major narcotics dealers, was ballyhooed as an example of the government’s determination to eliminate corruption and drug trafficking, but because of police leaks it resulted in only one arrest.
Most Lavalas apologists long ago wearied of trying to justify the regime’s human rights record, particularly to the OAS and the US, whose hostility they are convinced is implacable. Michael Ignatieff has referred to autism, Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s “useful word” connoting “the pathology of groups so enclosed in their own circle of self-righteous victimhood…that they can’t listen, can’t hear, can’t learn from anybody outside themselves.” FL’s claims of compliance, repeated by Lavalas parliamentarians and pro-Lavalas journalists as well as Aristide’s more credulous foreign supporters, quickly hardened into dogma.
But the truth is that until Aristide takes steps to dismantle the repressive apparatus he has used to govern, there is little chance that the opposition, church, human rights organizations, and civil society will cooperate. Haiti appears no nearer a solution than it was when the OAS passed Resolution 822 six months ago.
For most of the years following his return to power in 1994, Aristide dealt with the opposition and the international community confident that time was on his side and that there was no need for compromise because the Haitian people’s support for him was unshakable. As recent events have underscored, this is no longer true. This past November 15, demonstrating students calling for Aristide’s ouster temporarily occupied part of the campus of Haiti’s state university before continuing their protest at the National Palace. Two days later, a crowd estimated in the tens of thousands chanting “Abas Lavalas!” and “Aristide is a criminal, Aristide must go!” marched from Cap-Haïtien to Vertières, the site of the decisive battle in Haiti’s War of Independence, a hitherto unprecedented outpouring. On November 20, in Petit-Goâve, police fired on a demonstration of high school students, wounding seven, and setting off a new series of strikes and marches. “Aristide tonbe! Se Kwoke li kwoke nan branch!” students chanted—”Aristide has fallen from his tree! He’s just caught in one of the branches!” Of Haiti’s leaders during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, thirty-two, according to Aristide’s own count, were ousted by coup d’état. The events in November were so similar to those in the weeks leading up to the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986 that few have been willing to predict whether the government of Aristide can weather the current crisis, or what will happen if it falls.
The response of Aristide’s partisans to the outbreak of protests has been predictable. On November 22, groups of Chimères in Port-au-Prince set up burning barricades, while others emptied the streets by riding around in the backs of government trucks firing their guns into the air, creating what Haiti’s largest business group called a “climate of terror.” At opposition demonstrations over the next two weeks, protesters were attacked by gangs wielding clubs and rigwaz, small rawhide whips with steel tips ordinarily used for driving cattle.
The striking thing about these events was not the number of protesters, which remained comparatively small, but the failure of ordinary Haitians to rally to Aristide’s defense. Although a pro-Aristide demonstration in Port-au-Prince attracted over 20,000 supporters, and in Les Cayes large crowds were on hand to hear Aristide as he attempted to rally support in the south, political passions among the people appear to be spent. One of the most notable sights in the aftermath of Aristide’s return in 1994 was the explosion of pro-Aristide political slogans and graffiti, and the English words “Titid I will love you forever,” frequently accompanied by murals of the little priest in his presidential sash. Very little of this ardor remains. James Morrell of the Haiti Democracy Project remarked: “Something has really changed in Haiti. The divine mandate is over.”
The rise of the original Lavalas movement in the Eighties was driven by a demand for justice. Democracy itself was entirely outside the experience of most Haitians. The precipitate decline in support for Aristide has probably less to do with Haiti’s political crisis than with the continuous and unrelenting economic battering: the Haitian gourde, which a year ago was trading at 27 to the dollar, by late February was down to 55 to the dollar. Inflation, driven by the huge budget deficit financed with plummeting dollar reserves, has sent the price of rice, beans, cooking oil, and other staples skyrocketing. Owing to the government’s decision in December to end fuel subsidies the cost of gas and kerosene rose 85 percent in less than a week. This in turn has caused widespread power cuts, and in many neighborhoods electricity is only available five hours a week. For 95 percent of the Haitian population the annual per capita income is less than $250 a year, and the collapse of the economy has pushed a desperately poor people to the limit.
Then too, today Haiti is an increasingly dangerous place. In Cité Soleil at night, the crack-fueled clashes of rival gangs have terrorized defenseless residents, and sixteen-year-old marauders, firing their Uzis into the air, seal off the narrow cobblestone passageways, douse the shanties with gasoline, and set them on fire. “Not a day [passes] without crimes and bloody murders that leave us in mourning,” the Conférence Épiscopale d’Haïti said on October 1, 2002. Although most of the killing has been in the slums, the general air of ensekirite, the fear of violence, is widespread. During a kidnapping wave last January, people were being abducted from Port-au-Prince streets at a rate of one to two a day—shopkeepers, taxi drivers, anyone whose life was worth a couple of hundred dollars. Armed gangs known as Zinglendos have spread panic with their bold, and gratuitously violent, carjackings and robberies. Private security forces are among the few new sources of jobs in Port-au-Prince; in their crisp khaki uniforms, private guards, carrying pump-action shotguns, patrol the gas stations, convenience stores, and residential villas up in the hills, another sign of the profound mood of apprehension and fear.
The Haitian government today, Robert Fatton observes, is “babbling with catastrophe and nearing the abyss.” Was there ever a realistic chance that Aristide would move to disarm the Chimères or turn the people responsible for the December 17 attacks on the opposition over to the law courts? Probably not. By 2002, his reliance on the Chimères was too great. In 1991, a week before Aristide’s first inaugural, a coup briefly mounted by the Macoute strongman Roger Lafontant was thwarted, in part because of a huge popular mobilization in the Port-au-Prince streets. When Aristide returned to Haiti in 1994, he had evidently decided that a Haitian population armed to the teeth would be a more reliable source of support than a police force made up in part of former soldiers.
Although groups similar to the Chimères have been a feature of Haitian politics since the nineteenth century, under Aristide they became a semi-official arm of government. Among those greeted by the President and his wife at a reception at the National Palace on December 17, 2002, the first anniversary of the Police Chiefs’ Coup, were René Civil and Paul Raymond, leaders of two of the most prominent groups of Chimères, and some of their supporters, who proudly displayed the whips they had used on opposition demonstrators.
Aristide cultivates the Chimères‘ chiefs, and by funneling patronage through them insures their political dominance over legitimate, popular organizations in the slums. The Minister of Interior provides them with arms and funds, and coordinates their strategies. They are allowed to operate free of police interference and when their activities cross over the line and rivals are murdered or gang wars break out over drugs, the government looks the other way. Disarming them would be a formidable task, and it is questionable today whether Aristide could even rein them in.
“In every case, I believe power changes people, but in the case of Aristide more than any other, power aggravated the true personality,” the opposition party leader Gérard Pierre-Charles has noted. The Aristide of the late Eighties and early Nineties accomplished things that no other man or woman in Haiti could have done. His sermons and homilies rallying popular forces gave the Haitian poor a vocabulary for voicing their aspirations and grievances. Had it not been for the principled stand Aristide took in negotiating his return from exile, Haitian politics would still be the preserve of elites, and whoever governed today would be doing so in the shadow of the Haitian army. Since his return in 1994, however, Aristide has progressively undermined the independence and autonomy of state institutions, depriving them of the authority delegated to them by the Haitian constitution, and fashioning instead an all-powerful executive, marked by the same authoritarianism and corruption that characterized Haiti’s governments in the past.
It has long been abundantly plain that for all of Aristide’s formidable qualities, he was not, in fact, much of a leader. If the last eight years have demonstrated anything, it is that the former priest is a man most comfortable in opposition. Once reinstalled in the palace, Aristide has shown very little appetite for the difficult choices and unpopular compromises involved in governing. “The little priest has many Gandhian traits,” the late Selden Rodman, a longtime Haiti resident, had warned in 1990, “but political savvy, a sense of humor about himself, and the ability to compromise with his enemies on small issues are not among them.” Aristide’s political ideas, such as they are, have had far less impact on the day-to-day governance of Haiti than his temperament. For most of the Lavalas years, Robert Fatton writes, Aristide “lacked a clear plan for the future, and whatever policy he advocated seemed to be ad hoc, vague and reactive to the vagaries of an ever-changing environment.” Although able to ignore his opponents, Aristide was relatively powerless, finally, against the constraints imposed by his own supporters.
OPL spokesman Sauveur Pierre Étienne’s comment during the 2000 presidential campaign that Aristide’s promises amounted to little more than a pledge “to lift the country out of its state of anarchy, which he himself has created” turned out to be prophetic. The cooperative banking scandal that roiled Haiti last summer is one of numerous instances of the damaging consequences of Aristide’s incompetence and mismanagement. When cooperative banking associations sprang up all over Haiti last year, Aristide was their biggest pitchman. Although from the outset it was plain that several of the largest of these cooperatives were little more than drug-money laundering operations, this, in itself, was less alarming than the fact that many displayed all the classic signs of a pyramid scheme. Thousands of small depositors, responding to promises of as much as 15 percent interest per month, withdrew their life savings and placed them in these new institutions. In April 2002, the collapse started, and their directors absconded. The extent of the government’s complicity and the involvement of powerful FL supporters are unlikely ever to be fully known.
In the uproar that followed, Aristide pledged to reimburse all depositors by September 2002. Since the estimate of the losses sustained was over $240 million—60 percent of the national budget—and the treasury was empty, there were numerous skeptics. By the end of September, the only significant action the government had taken apart from setting aside a fund of $100,000 to satisfy claimants was to arrest and jail the leader of the organization representing the victims of the banking fraud, who was charged with plotting a coup.
In the past, the pressure on the government as a result of these emergencies would in time subside, to be superceded by new, even graver crises, each one magnifying the government’s incompetence or irresolution, and raising anew the question of whether Aristide has the temperamental capacity to govern even under optimal conditions. The Haitian economist Claude Beauboeuf remarked in October after yet another scandal, “It’s like a jungle here. People believe the government is so irrational it could do anything.”[*]
The first generations of the republic saw Haiti as a new Israel, a beacon of liberty beckoning to their brothers in bondage in the New World and in benighted Africa. When I first came to Haiti, I used to look out my window at night and see a group of twenty or so young men with books in their hands standing quietly under an arc light. In this country of scant electrification, where kerosene is an expensive commodity, many students have no other place to read or study at night. And it was saddening to reflect that for at least fifty years the surest route for an ambitious young person seeking to better himself and his family has been to emigrate.
By now, Robert Fatton concludes in Haiti’s Predatory Republic, the hopes to which the fall of the Duvalier dynasty and the election of Aristide in 1990 gave rise “have become so faint that intellectual honesty requires an acknowledgment of defeat.” Increasingly, the Haitian people seem to have decided so as well. Still, “Tout tan tet pa koupe, gin lespwa mete chapo” says a Kreyol proverb, which may be approximately translated as “for as long as your head is not cut off, you can still dream of someday wearing a hat.” During his first campaign in 1990, Aristide announced that his goal was to change conditions in Haiti from misery to poverty with dignity. It remains one of the wisest and most temperate things he ever said. Twelve years after he first took office, however, the transformation can hardly be said to have even begun.
—February 27, 2003; this is the second of two articles on Haiti.
[*] Michael Norton, “Haitians Withdrawing US Dollars,” Associated Press, October 16, 2002